Background: Tracking an ingested magnet by the Magnet Tracking System MTS-1 (Motilis, Lausanne, Switzerland) is an easy and minimally-invasive method to assess gastrointestinal transit. The aim was to test the validity of MTS-1 for assessment of gastric transit time and small intestinal transit time, and to illustrate transit patterns detected by the system.
Methods: A small magnet was ingested and tracked by an external matrix of 16 magnetic field sensors (4 × 4) giving a position defined by 5 coordinates (position: x, y, z, and angle: θ, φ). Eight healthy subjects were each investigated three times: (1) with a small magnet mounted on a capsule endoscope (PillCam); (2) with the magnet alone and the small intestine in the fasting state; and (3) with the magnet alone and the small intestine in the postprandial state.
Results: Experiment (1) showed good agreement and no systematic differences between MTS-1 and capsule endoscopy when assessing gastric transit (median difference 1 min; range: 0-6 min) and small intestinal transit time (median difference 0.5 min; range: 0-52 min). Comparing experiments (1) and (2) there were no systematic differences in gastric transit or small intestinal transit when using the magnet-PillCam unit and the much smaller magnetic pill. In experiments (2) and (3), short bursts of very fast movements lasting less than 5% of the time accounted for more than half the distance covered during the first two hours in the small intestine, irrespective of whether the small intestine was in the fasting or postprandial state. The mean contraction frequency in the small intestine was significantly lower in the fasting state than in the postprandial state (9.90 min-1 vs. 10.53 min-1) (p = 0.03).
Conclusion: MTS-1 is reliable for determination of gastric transit and small intestinal transit time. It is possible to distinguish between the mean contraction frequency of small intestine in the fasting state and in the postprandial state.